02 February 2019


'Hohfeld vs The Legal Realists' by David Frydrych in (2018) 24(4) Legal Theory 291-344 comments
2018 marked the centenary of Wesley Hohfeld’s untimely passing. Curiously, in recent years quite a few legal historians and philosophers have identified him as a Legal Realist. This article argues that Hohfeld was no such thing, that his work need not be understood in such lights either, and that he in fact made a smaller contribution to jurisprudence than is generally believed. He has nothing to do with theories of official decision-making that identify, among other things, ‘extra-legal’ factors as the real drivers of judicial decision-making, nor must his schema of jural relations advance a ‘Realist’ political agenda. Distinguishing Hohfeld from the Realists will help to correct some misunderstandings about his work and point to its utility in many more contexts than a Realist reading of it allows. €